Here’s the story of how this vegetarian lasagna was born. When I came to Canada as a student, I worked in the school library and became friends with the librarian. Her best friend was an Italian woman who would invite us over to her place from time to time for dinner. She would make all kinds of Italian meals and one of my favourites was her lasagna.
Traditionally lasagna is made with beef and since I am not a huge fan of red meat, I had to come up with a vegetarian version. That’s how this vegetarian lasagna with spinach and cottage cheese was born.
This vegetarian lasagna has very few ingredients and that’s why it is easy to make and enjoy any day. All it takes to bring this delicious comfort food to life is: 12 gluten free lasagna noodles, 4 cups of spinach, 1 large red onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (button or crimini). Add to this 2 containers of 500 ml cottage cheese, 1 1/2 cups of pureed tomatoes, 3 cups of mozzarella, and you got the best ingredients for a perfect vegetarian lasagna.
Making the toppings
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onion softens. This should only take about 2 – 3 mins. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking for another 2 mins. While the mushrooms are cooking add the dehydrated spice to the pan and stir well. To this add the spinach, and remove the pan from the heat.
You do not want to over cook the spinach or else it gets watery. Just cook it enough so it wilts a slight bit. Once you remove the pan from the heat, add 4 tablespoons of rice flour into the spinach mix. The flour helps absorb any extra liquid that might ooze from the vegetables as the lasagna cooks.
Without returning the pan back on the heat, add the pureed tomatoes. Do not worry about the vegetables not cooking enough. They will cook in the oven as the lasagna bakes.
Drain all the liquid from the cottage cheese. This will ensure that there is no extra liquid in the mix and the lasagna doesn’t turn out soggy. Add it to the pan containing the tomato spinach mix. Let it cool completely to room temperature before you assemble the lasagna.
Time to boil the lasagna noodles. Boil 12 gluten free lasagna noodles (1 package) as per the package instructions.
Layering the vegetarian lasagna
Now you’re ready to layer the lasagna. Using two tablespoons of vegetable oil, coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Place 4 noodles in the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cottage cheese vegetable mix on top of the noodles and spread all the way to the edge.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese on it, ensuring that it’s evenly spread. Repeat this layering process three times until all of the noodles, cottage cheese vegetable mix and mozzarella cheese are gone.
Baking the vegetarian lasagna
Now we are ready to bake and enjoy the vegetarian lasagna. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the lasagna for about 40 mins. The lasagna will boil around the sides and bubble as it cooks.
Once the lasagna has cooked, turn the oven to broil and let the cheese brown. Keep an eye on it because the cheese will turn brown and burn very quickly if left in too long. It should only take about 1 – 2 minutes.
Let it rest for about 5 mins so that it settles and the cheese at the top of the lasagna hardens a slight bit. This will help cutting a lot easier. If you try to cut it right away, the cheese will peel off as you cut and some of the lasagna will be left without cheese.
Cut it into 6 equal parts and enjoy with a side of garlic bread.
Vegetarian Lasagna with Spinach and Cottage CheeseCourse: EntreeCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
This vegetarian lasagna with spinach and cottage cheese is perfectly spiced and has loads of garlic, mushrooms and onions. It’s the best kind of comfort food for a cold winter day.
4 tablespoons vegetable oil – divided
1 large red onion – finely chopped
4 garlic cloves – sliced
4 cups fresh spinach – finely chopped
1 cup mushrooms – sliced
1 1/2 cups pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dehydrated oregano
1 teaspoon dehydrated basil
1 teaspoon dehydrated parsley
4 tablespoons rice flour
2 – 500 ml containers cottage cheese – drained
3 cups grated mozzarella
12 gluten free lasagna noodles
Salt and pepper to taste (see notes)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onion softens – for about 2 mins.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook for another 2 mins.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, add the oregano, basil and parsley to the pan.
- Add the chopped spinach to the pan and stir well to combine. As soon as you are done mixing the spinach in, remove the pan from the heat. Do not over cook the spinach or it gets watery and will make the lasagna runny.
- Once you remove the pan from the heat, add the 2 tablespoons of rice flour. This helps absorb any extra liquid from the vegetables as the lasagna cooks.
- Add the pureed tomatoes to the pan.
- Drain the cottage cheese well, so there’s no extra liquid left in it. Add it to the pan and stir well. Let cool to room temperature before you assemble the lasagna.
- Cook the lasagna noodles as per the package instructions.
- Using the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Line 4 lasagna noodles at the bottom of the dish and layer with a third of the spinach and cottage cheese mix.
- Evenly sprinkle a third of the mozzarella cheese on top of the mix.
- Repeat steps 11 and 12 two more times to fully assemble the lasagna.
- Bake for about 40 mins and then broil for a further 1-2 mins to get the cheese all crispy and browned from the top.
- Let rest for about 5 mins before you slice it into 6 equal parts and enjoy it warm.
- – Cottage cheese is salty on it’s own so be careful with the amount of salt you add.
– Check out other entree recipes here.